Howdy Friends! One uncomfortable thing many folks who have decided to take their horses barefoot face is, peer pressure. They’ve made the decision based on facts we now know to be true; “No shoe can be applied to a hoof without damage, and health compromises.” It can be a tough decision. Many folks labor with it for months, some years. Then, they hear their horse, and realize they must do the right thing.

The transition though is just then beginning. The horse and their person must not only adjust to the new healthier lifestyle, but often these horses are boarded in barns where many, if not most, have yet to see the light, and will insist going barefoot sets your horse up for failure and pain.

Too many excuses

To justify their own reluctance to change.  Or even honestly consider the health of their horse, they make excuses. It’s too rocky here. My horse goes lame when it loses one shoe how could it go barefoot. I tried it already and my horse could hardly walk.And on and on with the same tired old reasons to justify nailing iron on hooves.

Sadly, in some cases, the peer pressure is so intense that folks just give up. And then don’t make the transition to the barefoot paradigm.

Some folks go on carrying the tug at their heart. Deep inside knowing they should make the correct choice for their horse. But can’t deal with the pressure at the barn. Others actually join those who “talked them out of barefoot.” To try to placate that little voice inside that keeps telling them, “barefoot is healthier for your horse.”

Peer Pressure over reason

Peer pressure can be very difficult to deal with when a person is already nervous about making a change. Even when that change is clearly for the better health of your horse. Haven’t we all heard we should not allow negativity into our lives? Peer pressure is one of the most powerful forms of negativity. Folks who know going barefoot is best for their horse, but hesitate because they don’t want to be an outsider in their barn, may simply need to find another barn and shed that negativity. It’s for the horse, after all.

Another, “Touchy Subject,” referring to my title of this post. And please forgive my brashness with this one … but not all barefoot trimmers get it. My single biggest piece of advice here is, if your trimmer does barefoot as well as shoes, get another trimmer. They don’t understand the workings of a horse’s foot, legs and body, and are unable to see the true bare foot. They just see a foot without shoes. And that’s not really good enough. By a long shot.

I have A Story “Help me”


On that note, I have a story. I was once invited to a barn to do some, therapy exercises for two horses, and instruct the owner on them. I don’t know what percent of the horses there were barefoot, but the two I was to work on where.

As I approached the first horse, while still a good fifty feet away, I could see the cause of the overall body pain of the handsome 4 year old. His stance was one of managed discomfort, because it was all he knew. He was a sweet fellow with a kind look. I actually heard him say, “Help me.”

I turned to his owner and said, “Please forgive me for my bluntness, but before I even touch him, I can see where 100% of his soreness comes from. His feet are horribly trimmed.” The owner told me the “farrier” has been doing it for 30 years. I replied, “He’s been doing it wrong that long too.”

It is important to listen to the horse

We did have a lovely session with the 2 horses, both of whom had the same badly managed hooves by the barn’s 30 year veteran. I mixed in a few suggestions of what needed to be corrected, and a strong suggestion the owner switch trimmers, even recommended one. The owner informed me there is a lot of loyalty at the barn for this fellow and she was afraid to cause problems. The owner would, “think about it.”

I left knowing those 2 sweet horses would continue to walk with pain from hooves caused by stretching lamina from incorrectly managed hooves, the result of peer pressure.

I know this post is a bit edgier than I like to write, but I intend it in an honest, helpful way. As folks who know me understand, everything I write has its root in my motto, “It’s For The Horses.”

I hope if you are dealing with doubt, questions, or peer pressure regarding anything about barefoot horse keeping, this little story helps strengthen your resolve. ~ Gitty Up ~ Dutch.







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